On Friday, newsletter Veronica Inside stated that the move from Ajax right-back Sergiño Dest to Barça was a done deal. However, Dest’s agent, Joes Blakborn, has denied those claims right after it.
Barça’s search for a right-back is far from complete. The board has been looking at several players that suit the club’s profile. Rumour has it, one of them is Sergiño Dest. The 19-year-old was having his breakthrough season at Ajax until the Eredivisie’s cancellation. The initial reports from earlier this week suggesting that the azulgranas reached an agreement for the player turns out to be false.
Speaking to De Telegraaf agent Joes Blakborn said that the Catalan outfit has no concrete interest on Dest.
❛ Barcelona has sometimes inquired about Sergiño’s situation, but that was it. There is no concrete interest. Barcelona has not reported to me and not to Ajax ❜
Dest made 20 league appearances in this season and provided 5 assists. Despite being far from the finished product that Barça need in reality, it is surprising that his name came up. The American might be a player to look at once he establishes himself as a quality full-back. With only half-a-season of first-team football, it would be unadvisable for any club to sign such a player.
Showing glimpses of quality and a tenacious amount of pace, Dest is certainly a promising right-back. However, if what the blaugranas want is a proven starter, it would make little sense to go for a player who requires more grooming. The fact that the board are looking to find a more palpable player than Nélson Semedo means that Dest isn’t the solution. If they want someone to develop for the long-term, though, Sergiño certainly has a ceiling high enough for that.
Sergiño Dest has just been named Ajax’s Talent of the Year | Photo by Jeroen Putmans via Imago
Dest has also attracted interest from several clubs across Europe like Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur. In spite of the whispers of a move away from Amsterdam, he is likely to stay at the club. Even for a player of a club like Ajax that is known for selling talents to bigger clubs, it’s too soon. The Eredivisie is undoubtedly a less intense league where numerous young players accustom themselves to regular first-team football. Dest should look to improve his quality in the final third and use his pace better.
Thus, a premature move could hamper his development, considering he’s only 19 and needs regular playtime to polish his defects. For Barça, at present they should probably be looking for young players who have established themselves, unless they consider that Sergi Roberto will the undisputed starter at right-back. But the uncertainty that an unproven player brings is not only a tactical concern, but also pertains to fitness issues as well. Therefore, instead of putting all parties involved at risk, perhaps the right call for Dest’s career right now would be to stay at Ajax. He has plenty of time ahead to move to Barcelona in the future.
Koeman talks Griezmann, Pjanic, Messi following 3-0 win over Elche
Barcelona were able to put the draw against Cadiz behind them as they welcome Elche to the Camp Nou for a rescheduled round 1 fixture of La Liga. A brace from Lionel Messi and the dagger in the 73rd minute from Jordi Alba was enough for the hosts to seal the 3-0 win and the three points. Barça temporarily move into third place, two clear off Sevilla, who have a game in hand.
Following the game, Ronald Koeman spoke to the press as part of his post-game presser, where he acknowledged the improvements made by the team in the second half: “We were much better in the second half than we were in the first half. Everything went more fluently, and we had more depth.”
Miralem Pjanic had a decent outing in the first half, but was subbed off at the 45 minute mark for Ousmane Dembele. Koeman was asked about the same, to which he replied, “Pjanić? He has to work on his rhythm on the ball and his positioning. When you change a player it seems to be his fault, but that’s not it. With Dembélé we would have more depth, and that’s why we subbed him on.”
Leo Messi was the difference maker on the night, but it seems that the Dutch manager is far from impressed with the other veterans in the squad: “When I talk about veteran players, I don’t mean Leo, because his effectiveness is still impressive. Other veterans have to make a difference.”
The media was curious about the lack of goals in the first half, which changed almost immediately in the second. Koeman said the the score-less half was not down to the attitude of the team: “I liked the team’s attitude. That we couldn’t score in the first half, doesn’t mean our attitude was bad. Sometimes things just don’t work out. We’re humans, not machines.”
Antoine Griezmann was brought on later in the game to extend the cushion by Barça, but failed to take the easiest of chances, hitting the crossbar from close range. However, the decision to not start him was particularly interesting, and Koeman was inquired about the same: “Griezmann needed rest because he played a lot. We play many games, and sometimes fatigue is visible. We have to be fresh, and hence the changes today.”